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Legault government wants to buy highly contested Sisters of Charity's farmland

Reference: CBC News

The fate of one the largest remaining green spaces in Quebec City, a 200-hectare parcel of farmland that belongs to the Sisters of Charity, may soon be decided.

Radio-Canada is confirming that the Legault government made an offer on Thursday to buy the land from the order of nuns. The proposal was initially reported by the Journal de Québec.

If the offer is accepted, the province would create an agricultural hub used for farming, research and education, scrapping contested plans to develop it for housing.

Quebec's agriculture minister's office said it couldn't comment on the offer, but said that the government was working on the file and hoped to announce "good news" soon.

Radio-Canada sources report that the offer aligns with the municipal evaluation of the land at about $30 million. The religious order has 21 days to accept it.

If it does, the sale will put an end to attempts by the city to use the land to build condos, something many citizens fought against for years.

Developers have eyed the property in the past and the city of Quebec tried to rezone the land on two occasions, hoping to see 6,500 new homes built on it. But the province, which controls agricultural zoning, refused each time.

'A step in the right direction'

"I think it's a victory for citizens," said Denis Bédard, the co-owner of a nearby farm who was against developing the land. "It's a green space that will stay green, a beautiful visual space that will stay there for all of the citizens."

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume was unable to comment before publication. A spokesperson for Marie-Josée Savard, the candidate for mayor that he endorsed, said the city had had preliminary discussions with the government to be a partner in the project... Read More